How I Went From Languishing to Thriving

Did you read that NYT Article by Adam Grant about Languishing? It went completely viral, and talked about that feeling that so many are feeling right now, and how it’s not so much burnout, but rather, the feeling that one is Languishing. I think it resonated with a lot of people right now. 

To counter that, the following day, Dani Blum came out with another article (also NYT that talked about the opposite of Languishing: Flourishing, or, Thriving. The most important part of the article is that she points out that research shows that there are steps one can take to move from the Languishing end of the Spectrum to the Thriving End. 

I agree. 100%. I’ve done it.

I know Languishing well. I spent years languishing. Failed and dysfunctional relationships, deep in debt, crying myself to sleep every night because of a HORRID boss who (just after I bought a condo and had a mortgage to pay) went out of her way to make my life a living hell. (What full-grown, middle-aged woman tells a 26-year-old new employee that she hated her and wished she was dead?) Anyway, yeah–life was pretty rough for a few years. 

My health was suffering. My relationships were suffering, bills were going unpaid-not because I didn’t have the money, but simply because I was too overwhelmed by it all. I felt paralyzed.

I was languishing. 

One day I just decided I was done being miserable, and that I was ready to start figuring out how to be happy. I was shocked at how simple it was.


I took the 5 things that were most important to me:


  1. Relationships
  2. Career
  3. Health
  4. Home
  5. Adventure


And for each one, I wrote down 3 things that would be happening if I was thriving in that arena. I call these “Thrive Points”

E.g. Home. If I was thriving:

  • my house would be clean and tidy
  • my gardens and outdoor spaces would be full of blooms and vegetables
  • and my papers would be well organized



In the end, I had a list of 15 things. 


Every day, I would take a look at that list and I would ask myself what I could do to get 1% closer to one of those items. 

  • I could make my bed
  • I could sort the pile of mail and toss the junk
  • I could buy some seeds
  • I could water my dying houseplants and nurse them back to health.


You get the idea.  Nothing too transformational-I didn’t have the energy for that.  But I could get myself to make my bed. Maybe the next day I would do something to get myself 1% closer to a different “Thrive point”. 



I am beyond grateful to say that since I started that process, I’ve never dipped that low again. Sure, since my mid-20’s my life has had ups and downs. Highs and lows.  That’s just how life works, but I have always been able to lift myself up a bit when I’ve needed to, by keeping this exercise close to my heart.  

I took it up to a whole new level with my Focus Months a few years ago (which I’m thinking about doing again this year–would you be into joining me?) and it was the basis for my January Practice Cure (ahh…January 2020… was so CUTE then, wasn’t it?) The idea that when your practice routine feels in a rut, sometimes just cleaning out and sharpening your pencils can have a magical effect on the whole process. 

So I invite you to make your list. Pick 5 To Thrive because we love a rhyme  (or pick however many you want) and then pick 3 Thrive Points for each. This is your ideal. Tops. You know life is good when “THIS” is happening. “When I have my shit together, it will look like THIS” etc. 

And then, for this week, pick one small tiny action that you can take to get 1% closer to that ideal.  



What constitutes 1%? Anything that moves you closer but is SO easy for you to do, it would be silly not to. 


Want to be healthier? Go have a glass of water. Not 10, not a gallon. 1 glass of water. Voila. You are healthier than you were 5 minutes ago.  Want to be the kind of family that regularly gathers around the table for meals, laughing and discussing their day? try just making some pancakes next Saturday morning. 

Bit by bit they all start to add up. Making your bed becomes a habit you don’t have to think about and you can pick something else to do. That 1 sit-up you did has turned into 25 and you’re starting to feel a difference. 

Before you know it, each area morphs from where it was into what you had dreamed up, and then one day you’ll look around and notice that you are, actually, thriving. 

I’m so excited for you. 




Do you like free stuff? Because I created two helpful (I hope!) pdfs as a thank you for being a part of this community.  

This one is for all the teachers out there: 30 Things you can offer your online music students

And this one is for anyone looking for just a bit more motivation. It’s my 5 Strategies to Boost Motivation

In the meantime, join my Tales From The Lane Facebook Community for more bonus material, live discussions, and tons of free content and insider info. 

3 Comments on “How I Went From Languishing to Thriving

  1. Wow, what a positive read, thanks for that. I’m going to read the Focus Month link next, sounds intriguing especially as things are starting to open up.

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